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Unite ‘delighted’ as Govt publishes command paper on law for union recognition

The Gibraltar Government has issued a command paper setting out the framework for trade unions to be recognised by employers.

These regulations also set out the statutory recognition procedure whereby a Trade Union may apply to the Director of Employment in the event that an employer refuses to grant recognition.

This follows “comprehensive representations” made by Unite the Union, who have actively campaigned for the introduction of such legislation.

The Government said it recognises the important and positive relationship that exists between industry and employee representative organisations.

In a statement it added that it has a “strong and professional” relationship with the major Trade Unions within Gibraltar.

The salient points within the legislation cover Orders for statutory recognition where employers refuse to recognise a Trade Union or its bargaining unit.

In addition to the recognition, management, revocation and/or termination of Collective Agreements relating to the bargaining process and the right to accompaniment of a Trade Union representative or another of the employer’s employees at disciplinary or grievance hearings,it also covers Facility time and Anti-Discrimination processes related to the work of Trade Union representatives within an employer’s workforce in respects to their Trade Union duties.

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo said: “This Command Paper is designed as the beginning of our delivery of an important part of our manifesto in respect of social justice and industrial relations. I am very pleased we are now able to start delivering on this aspect of the work we are committed to doing and on which we have a popular mandate.”

The move was welcomed by Unite the Union, which said it had long campaigned for this legislation.

Stuart Davies, Unite National Officer for Gibraltar, said: “The union is delighted and proud following a long campaign to finally see the publication of the Government command paper today on the issue of union recognition.”

“Workers across the private sector have craved a united voice in the workplace and collective bargaining via trade unions to protect and enhance their terms and conditions of employment.”

“This proposed legislation will deliver that collective voice to those workers that wish to be represented by a trade union.”

“A modern and progressive economy has to have at its heart collective representation of workers and the development of workers’ rights.”

“There is clearly a need to bargain for better terms and conditions in all corners of the private sector, but as Unite have stated on many occasions, employers need not fear the union. Unite has worked and continues to work constructively with employers across both the public and private sectors.”

“Union recognition is empirically linked to greater productivity and profit, higher levels of employee engagement and retention which benefits both employer and employee.”

“Unite looks forward to the transition of the command paper into law and placing worker representation at the heart of the economy.”

“The freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining for all are features of any modern democracy and the beginning of correcting that representational deficit has commenced today with the command paper.”

“The union is also excited about the prospect of representing workers collectively and individually across the private sector, in areas that we have not previously been able to access and where the workforce wants the union to be their collective voice.”

“It is a good day for worker representation and for all that have campaigned for this change over the years.”